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River Ericht anglers ‘disgusted’ as ‘medical waste’ washes up at Perthshire beauty spot

river ericht pollution
Robert Kellie gets his hands dirty.

Potentially hazardous rubbish from a nearby dump is continuing to pour into the River Ericht, forcing some anglers to refuse to fish in the Perthshire beauty spot.

River convener Robert Kellie is continuing to remove decades-old plastic waste from the water, despite recent pledges to solve the long-standing problem.

He said an “NHS medical bag hanging from a branch” was one of the latest pieces of rubbish to emerge from the crumbling dump next to the riverbank.

A group of anglers walked away from the river in late March, he added, after judging the Perthshire river was too dirty to fish in.

Action ‘too slow’ on River Ericht

He called for faster action from the local authority and Sepa to tackle the long-running problem.

He said: “It’s disgusting. It’s non-biodegradable plastic. So it’s going into the environment.

landfill pollution

“It’s going to be going down stream. It’ll probably end up on the beach in Broughty Ferry because it can go that far.

“There is a lot of wildlife and I have concerns about that. We have otters, beavers and nesting birds.

“That’s a real worry. I have grave concerns about it. We don’t know what’s in some of this stuff.”

Where is the rubbish coming from?

Water in the river is being continually contaminated by household and industrial waste.

The source is a historic landfill at the riverbank. Erosion on the bank exposes the waste.

Mr Kellie said a colony of local beavers aggravated the problem by digging tunnels into the affected area.

It is believed the landfill site dates from between around 1940 and 1970.

The problem persists despite a recent £80,000 project to remove and contain the waste.

What do communities along the Ericht want?

Mr Kellie said both the council and environment watchdog Sepa are working on the problem but are too slow in taking action.

A group of volunteers collected as much of the rubbish as they could from the River Ericht on Sunday April 10.

“I want the council to speed up. I want them to take responsibility for the dump that they put there many years ago.

Robert Kellie and the volunteers.

“It’s not getting any better and it will only get worse.”

A Sepa spokesperson said: “This historic landfill was closed before Sepa was established in 1996. Therefore, it was not under our regulation.”

She said issues relating to the site would be a matter for the local authority or landowner.

The volunteers hard at work.

“Sepa continues to offer advice where necessary on what solutions may be available to prevent waste and silt entering the river,” she added.

A Perth & Kinross Council spokesperson said: “We understand concerns about waste on the banks of the River Ericht and will carry out improvement works as soon as possible.

“The council has set aside resources and are awaiting confirmation about match funding by the Scottish Government.”

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